Orchid #1 Miter and Splined Shaped Box

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Project by MrWolfe posted 08-16-2019 01:53 AM 1444 views 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a mitered and splined box of poplar, cedar and mesquite. It is number 17 in my 2019 Box Build. This one is a bit of a hodge podge of a box. I originally did the intarsia orchid for box number 16, my Soft Dovetail Box, but I didn’t plan it out well and the orchid was orginally sideways/horizontal on the lid for that box. When I changed the design to make the panel and the orchid in a vertical orientation on the lid, the lid was too large for that box. I ended up putting the orchid aside and making a different lid for that box.

This is the results of building a slightly larger box to fit that lid. I am still on the fence about the proportions of some of the elements on this one.

The feet and some of the design features look similar to the Soft Dovetail Box but there are subtle differences. On the curved sides this one has more of an ogee shape and the mesquite splines really accentuate the curves. I put a couple of beads in the lid with my stanley 45. The texturing on the panels on either side of the orchid were dappled with a blunt punch on the outer cedar panels and carved with a flexshaft on the poplar center panel. The frame of the lid and the orchid got a light white wash before the shellac and wax.

The feet may look like the ones from the previous box but they were constructed in a different way. The bottom of this box is a captured 3/16s plywood panel in a groove. The feet were attached to the corners of the box then shaped. On the last box the bottom was one piece with a recessed pocket that the box sat in. Those feet were part of that platform.

Much of the curves on the box and especially the feet were shaped with chisels and a gouge then a few rasps before sanding.

I have a love/hate relationship with poplar. It is so easy to work and sometimes the tones in the wood are beautiful. What I have been finding though is that it is hard to stain. I still haven’t played around with filling grain before I stain and finish my pieces. This got a little bit splotchy but I think it will “mellow” with some time.

The finish is a bit all over the place. There is the white washing of some of the lid but then everything got a wipe on blend of oil based poly, mineral spirits and a splash of fruitwood oilbased stain. That was followed with clear shellac and then Johnson’s Paste Wax.

Dims are 9 1/2 long by 5 1/2 deep and 6 1/2 tall. This box will have hinges by the weekend.

Thanks for looking.

9 comments so far

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

10473 posts in 2072 days

#1 posted 08-16-2019 10:09 AM

Nice work. Stippling the background is a handy technique to know. The beads on the lid are a nice touch, too. Way to up your game!

I’m not sure about the proportions either, but it’s hard to say for sure from the photos. How it looks in person is the real test, and that might change once you get the lid attached with the hinges.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View robertjacob's profile


62 posts in 1759 days

#2 posted 08-16-2019 11:56 AM

good work, its clearly understand your hard work, congratulation to do more.

-- Woodworking is skill >>

View Ivan's profile


17323 posts in 4357 days

#3 posted 08-17-2019 07:03 AM

WOW!...So many awesome details – corner spline/joinery, legs, intarsia on top, sculpturing…magnificant ’’all in one’’ skill display.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View MrWolfe's profile


1968 posts in 1613 days

#4 posted 08-17-2019 12:46 PM

Thanks everyone,
I have the most fun with the shaping. The stippling was very fun also, I may try to expand that skill set to different textures in the future. Dave, I think I am figuring out the porportion issues. If I do another box like this I think the lid will be much smaller, smaller than the top/rim of the box. I haven’t really nailed it down yet but I can see it better each time.

Robert, thanks for compliments. I do enjoy playing with the form after I have made the box.

Ivan, thank you. The corner splines were a nice surprise. I did not expect the curves on the splines that were revealed after I shaped the box and the contrast between the splines and the miters turned out well. The intarsia was a new thing for me and I might use that again in the future.

Thanks for all the comments.

View splintergroup's profile


7114 posts in 2712 days

#5 posted 08-17-2019 02:20 PM

I really like your adventures into shape, well outside my comfort zone!

View MrWolfe's profile


1968 posts in 1613 days

#6 posted 08-17-2019 03:35 PM

Thanks Splintergroup!
I like that “Adventures into Shape” because I don’t always know where it will take me. I make a lot of mistakes and spend a lot of time correcting them but it is fun.

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